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Heliocentrics: Astral Projection


The first few minutes of Out There (Now-Again), the debut LP from the Heliocentrics, prepare listeners for a trip akin to interstellar space travel: The bass rumbles the floor beneath your feet, a flight attendant’s soft voice comes over the intercom, and before you know it-liftoff. Only on this trip, the sampler-driven genres of nu-jazz and hip-hop are turned on their ear by a nine-piece band resulting in a record that orbits the cosmos somewhere between Sun Ra, John Coltrane and David Axelrod.

The London-based Heliocentrics are captained by drummer Malcolm Catto, a veteran of the U.K. jazz and funk scenes and more recently a collaborator of both DJ Shadow and American hip-hop MC and jazz drummer Madlib. “My father used to play piano with a band called the Gothic Jazz Band,” Catto explained via e-mail. “They played straight-up New Orleans jazz, and consequently I grew up in a pretty musical environment, with either boogie-woogie, blues, New Orleans R&B or jazz on the stereo. I one day heard Africa/Brass by Coltrane, which sounded timeless and still musically and rhythmically relevant compared to other jazz I had heard.”

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